You’ve landed on this page because you’re looking for the best fuel injection cleaner. And I want to help you find it.
But first, I want to help you understand if you actually even need fuel injection cleaner.
Because you might not.
Do you even need fuel injector cleaner, bro?
A lot of people think it’s a good idea to add a bottle of fuel injection cleaner into your gas tank every so often as a preventative maintenance step.
If you do this, you get a gold star for going above and beyond in taking care of your car.
But unfortunately, I’m here to tell you it’s unnecessary.
Want to know why?
Because the gas you put in your car already has detergent in it to keep your fuel injectors clean.
If you want to continue to go above and beyond with your car and fuel injector maintenance, don’t just use any old gas in your car, choose Top Tier.
What is Top Tier Gas?
As fuel injection technology advanced in cars, clogged fuel injectors became a pretty big problem. The source of the problem was discovered to be inadequate levels of detergents in gas. In 1995, the United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced a minimum detergent standard to help end the problem.
But the EPA standards were more focused on engine emissions and not on engine longevity… so automakers were still seeing problems with clogged injectors. They asked the EPA to increase their detergent standards, but the EPA was unresponsive.
In 2004, four automakers – General Motors, BMW, Honda, and Toyota – came together and took matters into their own hands. They developed a high detergent gas standard called Top Tier. This gas was formulated to reduce harmful engine deposits and prolong engine life.
Top Tier gas will help keep your fuel injectors clean and will minimize the need to use a fuel injector cleaner.
But Top Tier Gas is Expensive
Yes, Top Tier gas is generally a little more expensive than non-Top-Tier gas. So you might be thinking it’s more cost effective to use crap gas at every fill up and a bottle of fuel injector cleaner a couple times a year.
You might be right.
But consider this…. I think it’s better to keep your fuel injectors squeaky clean every day by using Top Tier gas. This is a better plan than letting your fuel injectors get all gunked up and nasty… and then having to clean them by using a bottle of fuel injection cleaner.
I think it makes more sense to avoid the problem altogether, rather than having to address it every couple of months.
If I haven’t convinced you on the importance of using Top Tier gas, then maybe you’ll listen to the AAA. In 2016, AAA did a test that showed cars NOT running on Top-Tier gas were 19 times more likely to have carbon deposits after just 4,000 miles of driving. Check out the full study here.
Before I move on, it’s important to know that Top Tier gas IS NOT synonymous with octane rating. So don’t start pumping 93 octane into your car and think you are getting more detergents. The octane rating of a gas is something completely different and I’ll cover that in a future post.
What are Fuel Injectors?
I want to take a moment to quickly explain what fuel injectors are on your car. If you’re so concerned with cleaning them, then you should probably know what they are and what they do.
A fuel injector is at the very end of your car’s fuel system. It is basically a valve that sprays fuel as a fine mist into your car’s intake manifold. It’s a lot like a spray nozzle on a garden hose (in mist mode, of course).
When should you use a fuel injector cleaner?
The fuel injector delivers fuel as a fine mist. So if it becomes clogged, it will start squirting fuel into the intake manifold all sloppy. Instead of a fine mist, it could be a drippy stream. It may squirt in too much, too little, or even none at all. This will make your car run like crap.
When this happens, there will be some telltale signs that indicate it’s time to clean your fuel injectors. Here are the most common:
- Your car will idle rough
- Under normal driving and acceleration, your car will sputter
- Loss of power
- Your fuel efficiency will suffer
My picks for best fuel injection cleaners
My first pick isn’t a fuel injector cleaner at all! It’s Top Tier gas. While this isn’t a traditional fuel injection cleaner per se, using it will keep your fuel injectors clean.
But if you haven’t been using Top Tier gas and your car is experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, you can try a fuel injector cleaner to fix the problem.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in car forums and have had conversations with fellow gearheads to determine which fuel injection cleaners are the best. Two products consistently float to the top as the best.
BG 44K Platinum Fuel System Cleaner
Hands down, BG 44K Platinum comes up as the top pick in the auto world. Take a look at what many local mechanics keep on the shelf… and you’ll see that BG 44K is king.
BG claims 44K Platinum delivers the following benefits when used properly:
- Restores performance
- Restores fuel efficiency
- Increases power output
- Reduces exhaust emissions
If you want to pick up a can, you can buy it on Amazon. Click on this link to get it – link to buy.
Chevron Techron Complete Fuel System Cleaner
The runner up is Chevron Techron Complete Fuel System Cleaner. It’s a little less expensive than BG 44K. It claims similar benefits when used properly:
- Maximize fuel economy
- Restore lost power and performance
- Restore and protect operation of the fuel gauge sensor
- Minimize harmful exhaust emissions
- Relieve cold start problems
- Minimize deposit-related knock and ping
- Restore lost acceleration
If you want to pick up a bottle, you can buy it on Amazon. Click here to buy.
So which one is better?
If we’re being honest, these are commodity products. So it’s hard to say. My research points to BG 44K as being more popular. Does that mean it’s better? Not necessarily.
There are some claims that BG 44K is more concentrated and therefore stronger.
But if you want to save a few bucks (and who doesn’t?), give Chevron a shot.
How to use fuel injector cleaner
It’s pretty simple – just pour it into your gas tank. But here’s the most important thing… make sure you follow the instructions on the packaging of the product you buy!! The instructions will explain how to make sure you are using the right amount for your car’s fuel tank size. Generally a single bottle does the trick. But if your car has a tiny (or huge) gas tank, you might need to adjust accordingly.
The instructions will also explain how often you should use it. Too much fuel injector cleaner can cause damage to your car. So follow the instructions carefully.
Do fuel injector cleaners actually work?
This is a good question (translation: I don’t know).
I’m going to be honest with you… I have no idea if the stuff actually works. I run on Top Tier gas, so I’ve never personally been in a situation where I needed to use fuel injector cleaner.
What I can say is that I’ve done the research to write this article and I’ve found opinions on both sides of the argument.
Yes, every single manufacturer of fuel injection cleaner is going to claim their product works wonders.
But I’m not able to find an independent study that actually shows the effectiveness of fuel injection cleaner. And I’ve read more than one article that is quick to point this same fact out.
The best way to keep your fuel injectors clean is to use Top Tier gas as often as you can.
There’s no need to regularly add fuel injector cleaner to your gas tank. I would, however, recommend regular use of fuel injector cleaner if you live in an area where you don’t have access to Top Tier gas.
At the end of the day, the only time you should use fuel injection cleaner is when your car is having the issues I mentioned earlier (rough idle, loss of power, loss of fuel efficiency). It won’t hurt to add in a bottle of fuel injection cleaner to a tank of gas.
Both products I recommend aren’t all that expensive…. So give it a shot and see if it helps. It just might make your car start running better.